Mandatory building energy audits alone do not overcome barriers to energy efficiency

March 30, 2020

New York City's pioneering Local Law 87 requires office and residential buildings to monitor their energy use, using detailed audits. In a study published today (March 30) in the research journal Nature Energy, Constantine E. Kontokosta, Danielle Spiegel-Feld and Sokratis Papadopoulos of New York University discuss the impact of this requirement on building owners, looking closely at detailed energy use and audit data between 2011 and 2016 from about 4,000 buildings. As a result of the law, the researchers found that energy use fell by a modest -2.5% for multifamily residential buildings and -4.9% for office buildings.

"The results suggest that mandatory audits, by themselves, create an insufficient incentive to invest in energy efficiency at the scale needed to meet citywide carbon-reduction goals," wrote the authors. "In the context of a comprehensive, data-driven energy policy, audit requirements can be used to target 'deep' retrofits, while automated or virtual audits could replace the existing need for traditional audit mandates."

Energy use in existing buildings is responsible for an estimated 67% of all New York City carbon emissions, the authors wrote. More than 20 cities, including Austin, Chicago, and San Francisco, have adopted policies to increase data and transparency on energy use, seeking to encourage market interventions to reduce energy consumption and carbon pollution. New York City has led the way in this regard.

The New York University study seeks to inform urban energy policy decisions by comparing energy use in properties that have performed a mandatory energy audit with those that have not within New York City.

The article, titled "The impact of mandatory energy audits on building energy use," is co-authored by: Kontokosta, associate professor of urban science and planning, and director of the Civics Analytics program, NYU Marron Institute of Urban Management; Spiegel-Feld of the Guarini Center on Environmental, Energy and Land Use Law, NYU School of Law; and Papadopoulos, NYU Tandon's Department of Civil and Urban Engineering, and Center for Urban Science & Progress (CUSP).
-end-
The study was conducted with grant support from the National Science Foundation and the Sloan Foundation.

To speak with the study authors, contact the NYU press officer listed with this release.

New York University

Related Energy Efficiency Articles from Brightsurf:

Customizable smart window technology could improve energy efficiency of buildings
Scientists combined solar cell technology with a novel optimization approach to develop a smart window prototype that maximizes design across a wide range of criteria.

Boosting energy efficiency of 2D material electronics using topological semimetal
SUTD researchers discover a new way to boost the energy efficiency of 2D semiconductor electronics by synergizing 2D materials and topological semimetals.

New 5G switch provides 50 times more energy efficiency than currently exists
As 5G hits the market, new US Army-funded research has developed a radio-frequency switch that is more than 50 times more energy efficient than what is used today.

Development of electrode material improving the efficiency of salinity gradient energy
Dr. Jeong Nam-Jo of Korea Institute of Energy Research(KIER) Marine Energy Convergence and Integration Research Team developed synthesis technologies of electrode material that can directly synthesize molybdenum disulfide thin films on the electrode current collector surface to contribute improving the efficiency and economic feasibility of salt gradient power generation using reverse electrodialysis.

Mandatory building energy audits alone do not overcome barriers to energy efficiency
A pioneering law may be insufficient to incentivize significant energy use reductions in residential and office buildings, a new study finds.

Towards a sustainable future -- Novel technology to measure energy conversion efficiency
Conversion of energy is a constant process but measuring the efficiency of this conversion is not an easy task.

How preprocessing methods affect the conversion efficiency of biomass energy production
Research on energy production from biomass usually focuses on the amount of energy generated.

Microgrids can help maximize efficiency of renewable energy consumption
A group of Italian researchers has developed a method that enables more efficient use of energy by smart homes that are connected to a microgrid -- a web of individualized units that are connected to one another and one common energy source.

Connection between home energy efficiency and respiratory health in low-income homes
A new study finds people living in drafty homes in low-income, urban communities are at a higher risk of respiratory health issues.

Merging antenna and electronics boosts energy and spectrum efficiency
By integrating the design of antenna and electronics, researchers have boosted the energy and spectrum efficiency for a new class of millimeter wave transmitters, allowing improved modulation and reduced generation of waste heat.

Read More: Energy Efficiency News and Energy Efficiency Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.